When launched in the United States for the 2008 model year, the Lexus IS F has models such as the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG. The Japanese sedan followed the classic American muscle car recipe by fitting the larger model’s modified V8 into this smaller, performance-focused offering. Watch this video to see how a slightly modified example handles the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The most astonishing thing about this ISF is that the odometer shows it to be around 273,093 miles (439,500 kilometers). The 5.0 liter V8 was still available but received normal maintenance such as a new timing chain at around 124,750 miles (200,000 kilometers). The powerplant’s standard output is 416 horsepower (310 kilowatts) and 371 pound-feet (503 Newton-meters) of torque.
The car also has some minor modifications. It rides on a specially tuned KW suspension. The brakes are from Endless. There is a set of OZ wheels. Inside, the rear seat is gone, and the harness is attached to the body.
When the Lexus entered the track, the roar of the engine immediately sounded. Sounds like an American V8 muscle car. The eight-speed automatic sends power to the rear wheels. For older gearboxes with traditional torque converters, the technology seems to shift through the gears quickly.
The Nordschleife was busy during this lap, and there were two points where the car had to slow down due to incidents on the track. Drivers initially said the suspension settings were a little too lenient. However, he changed his mind after having more time behind the wheel.
The closest thing to the IS F in the modern Lexus lineup is the IS 500 F Sport Performance model (pictured above). It continued to use the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8, but output was now 472 hp (352 kW) and 395 lb-ft (536 Nm). The eight-speed automatic still sends power to the rear wheels. Setup gives the sedan a top speed of 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in 4.4 seconds and an estimated top speed of 165 mph (266 kph).
The IS 500 F Sport Performance starts at $57,575 after a $1,075 destination fee.
If you want to hear more about Japanese performance cars, check out this episode Rambling About Cars.